[2018 Edition] 30 Things to Do in Hakone (Part 6 of 6)
Hakone is one of the most visited destinations in Japan. Its close proximity to Tokyo makes it ideal for a day trip, and its rich nature offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. This article is the last part of a series that has been introducing 30 things to include in your Hakone travel itineraries. Read on to find out about some unique museums and where to go for the ultimate Japanese experience of onsen (hot springs)!
Nov 13 2018 (Sep 09 2020)
1. All that Sparkles at Hakone Venetian Glass Museum
Delight in the fascinating world of glass art at the Hakone Venetian Glass Museum (Hakone Garasu-no-Mori Bijutsu-kan) in Sengokuhara! From the entrance, you'll pass through the "Corridoio", a corridor made of crystal that captures the sunlight to release sparkling rainbows everywhere, then proceed to the classic buildings into the museum.
It is the first museum in Japan to specialize in Venetian glass, and houses valuable pieces including goblets, flower vases, and compote dishes, with some dating back to the 1500s. Don't forget to visit the Modern Glass Museum to explore the updated designs of Venetian glassware. The museum undergoes seasonal transformations, which the visitors can experience through their special exhibitions and events.
2. Delve into the Fantastical World of The Little Prince Museum
The Little Prince Museum (Hoshi-no-Ojisama Museum) is the only museum in the world that is dedicated to the renowned novella, "The Little Prince", and its author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
The museum is set in a French townscape with actual photographs, letters, and cherished items of Antoine on display in the main hall, along with recreations of the environment in which Antoine de Saint-Exupéry spent his time - it's precisely a visual biography of the beloved author!
Check out the article below for a closer look at the magical world of The Little Prince Museum!
3. A Fun-filled Day Awaits You at Yunessun
A trip to Hakone isn't complete until you have experienced its natural onsen, and you can indulge to your heart's content at Yunessun! It's an onsen amusement park where visitors will have access to exciting attractions such as the all-season water slides, an open-air bath, an onsen pool, a wine bath, and a coffee bath - just make sure you put on a bathing suit!
The Mori-no-yu area is where you can enjoy 8 types of baths in the traditional Japanese onsen-style, including the open-air bath with gorgeous views, reclining baths, and private baths. The park is well-equipped with rental services, shops, eateries, and fine dining as well as two ryokan-style partner hotels for your convenience.
Are you interested in going to Hakone but a bit strapped for time? This handy one-day tour might be just the thing for you!
4. Yumoto Onsen, a Historical Hot Spring
Did you know that Hakone's onsen culture dates back 1,200 years? It began in the district currently known as Yumoto Onsen, and is the oldest natural onsen amongst the seven major sources in Hakone.
The amount of water from the Yumoto source is so abundant that it delivers nearly 100 liters of mineral-rich water per second to the countless onsen facilities in the area. The water of Yumoto Onsen is said to be gentle on the skin, and beneficial for sensitivity to the cold, shoulder stiffness, and back pain.
The location is wonderfully easy to access by train, and the streets in the area are lined with various onsen ryokan and bathhouses as well as local restaurants. It's a great area for a day trip from Tokyo for onsen hopping!
5. Soak Your Aches and Pains Away at Gora Onsen
The Gora district boasts one of the most spectacular and vibrant vistas in Hakone, thanks to its elevated location and the surrounding natural environment. The 5 different types of onsen in the area also add a touch of color to the scenery.
The first is the gentle and transparent onsen, which is said to be good for recuperation after an illness or surgery, fractures, and other external injuries.
The second onsen is pale yellow in color, and is beneficial for joint and muscle pains, bruising, sprains, sensitivity to the cold, and chronic gynecological and digestive disorders.
Next is the milky-white onsen that is said to help relieve high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, chronic dermatological, digestive, and gynaecological conditions, and muscular and joint pains. If you're stressed, try the pale brown onsen to help you relax and alleviate symptoms of high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, and diabetes.
Lastly, the pale green bath is believed to help with your digestive system as well as to relieve high blood pressure and gout. Gora is the place to go if you want to spend some quality onsen time in a pleasant, upscale ambience.
And that is it!
We've introduced things to do in Hakone over 6 articles, and, as you can see, there is such a wide variety of things to do! You can of course go to Hakone for a day trip from Tokyo, but it would be highly recommended to stay at least one night to delve deeper into the natural and cultural wonders of Hakone. From beautiful natural sceneries and unique museums to a variety of onsen, there is something for everyone at this popular tourist destination of Hakone.
If you've missed the previous instalments in the series, check out the first one here!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.